Resident Evil 6 Review (Xbox 360)

Resident-Evil-6My attempts to catch up on the Resident Evil series has now reached the sixth official game of the series (or eighth but who’s counting)…

Gameplay: 2½/5 – The regular gameplay resembles RE4 and 5 to a large extent and the segments of the game that do operate in that style are easily the best. There’s even a new good feature which is to allow melee attacks without having to trigger prompts for them. Thus making battles with zombies a whole lot more easier (especially in the early parts of the game, when you’re low on ammo).

RANT WARNING:

Unfortunately, everything else is a complete shit-show. The game blurs the line of actual gameplay and cutscenes way too readily. The Quick Time Events in RE5 could come from literally nowhere and were somewhat annoying but still manageable. Large chunks of RE6 are literally nothing but Quick Time Events, turning literally half the game into an interactive cutscene. This is frustrating enough, but the game then has to also throw in scripted events which can and will kill you without warning.

Add to this absolutely horrid camera and the complete lack of a map for all but one level and the game also begins to feel incredibly disorienting. The lack of a map is inexcusable in larger levels where you have to explore and it’s also annoying in the more linear parts of the game, albeit not inherently necessary (though your problems with disorientation are made worse by the graphics). The swimming mechanics in this game are inexcusable. You’re expected to use both analogue sticks and a face-button, a combination that makes little to no sense. Underwater swim mechanics in 3D games have never really been improved upon since Super Mario 64, so it’s baffling how RE6 could fuck them up.

The most disorienting element of all though is the camera which zips around annoyingly, will get attracted to background details and distract you, occasionally snap to predetermined angles without warning and even do a 180 when you get knocked down by enemies. Oh yeah, and characters trip over bodies, because that totally needed to be a feature in a Resident Evil game.

END OF RANT.

Even so, there are luckily plenty of levels where the vast majority of these annoyances aren’t nearly as prevalent, but especially during Leon’s campaign, they were enough to make me feel physically ill.

Graphics: 3/5 – I was not wowed by the game’s graphic look, least of all because during Leon’s campaign 90% of the time the game world is so dark you can barely see what’s around you. Add to this the fact that zombies can sneak up on you really easily (and all the other gameplay problems I already outlined), you’ll begin to see why I got frustrated with the gameplay. The zombies for the most part are also not as scary and imposing, most are just kinda slimy and gross, some are almost comically derpy (like the big necked Shriekers and those farty bastards who run around like Peter Griffin with his pants down). Luckily with the other characters’ campaigns we get a little bit more variety and even some daylight, but compared to both of the previous two games, the game’s graphics are just okay. Not great, not excellent, not even very inspired, just okay.

Animation: 2½/5 – I’d be more inclined to praise the animation work if it wasn’t for the fact that I literally wasn’t able to put down my controller even during cutscenes because a.) more than 70% of the time they were probably going to include a QTE and b.) because there’s no option to turn off the rumble feature, my controller would bang really loudly against my living room table. Cutscenes are more of an inconvenience than a reward in this game. The score would be lower if Jake and Sherry’s campaign wouldn’t have featured so many gems in the form of funny dialogue and semi-romantic awkwardness.

Music: 2½/5 – Honestly, the soundtracks of most Resident Evil games are pretty nondescript, but at least they usually do a good job of warning you of impending danger. This game seems to have abandoned the time-honoured “intense music starts” system to warn you that the undead are upon you. The music isn’t really bad or terrible, but like everything else, I was hard-pressed to really appreciate it because of how incredibly I was annoyed by the gameplay.

Sound: 4/5 – The game continues with the high quality voice-acting. Huge kudos to Matthew Mercer (Leon), Roger Craig Smith (Chris), Eden Riegel (Sherry) but especially to Troy Baker, whose performance as Jake Müller was just absolute perfection. His wise-ass dialogue honestly made up for a lot of bullshit this game threw at me and his and Sherry’s dialogue was easily the best in the whole game.

Replay value: 1½/5 – For Jake and Sherry’s story, I could be maybe convinced to give the game another whirl. However, the game’s multitude of problems really just make it an unpleasant experience to return to.

Score: 53% – Resident Evil 6 is a game that seems to have completely missed the point of what made the previous two entries in the series so entertaining. Capcom just couldn’t commit to making the games more shooter oriented, so instead they hyped up the cinematic aspects of the game. Unfortunately, the end result is really just a huge mess. I appreciate the effort to try and tell a story from multiple angles – but when playing the game just isn’t that much fun, it’s really hard to appreciate the effort. I have never been so utterly infuriated with a Resident Evil game this much and this quickly (not even with Code: Veronica X).

Capcom has announced it’s going to be taking a new direction with Resident Evil 7. After having experienced this train-wreck, I’m convinced that it’s for the best.

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